Tuesday, July 10, 2007

On Gates, Maitreyas, and Miracles: The Story of the Bab

Uploaded on July 9, 2007 by heiwa4126 on flickr
"Gates that Maitreya came through"
I see this picture on flickr and note the caption. I think I know what "Maitreya" means, but I google it anyway. I come up with this definition: "Maitreya is the name of a person of religious stature who claims to be the answer to the world’s quest for peace." I think of The Bab and Baha'u'llah. The Bab means "gate." Here is Bill's post about the Baha'i Holy Day just past and the holy figure associated with it. -gw

Today, July 9th, the Baha'i world commemorates the Martyrdom of the Bab.

The founder of the Baha'i Faith, Baha'u'llah, teaches us that miracles are not to be used as proofs, mostly because they do not work. Do you know anyone who became a Christian because they were told that Christ walked on water, or a Jew because they were told that Moses parted the Red Sea? Miracles only convince the already convinced. They don't even convince eyewitnesses because the Bible is rife with doubters who saw Christ perform miracles.

I don't expect anyone to read the story of the Martyrdom of the Bab and then become a Baha'i.

I simply want to share that to me it is one of the most compelling and moving stories of martyrdom I have ever heard. It is easy to read it and say "Yeah, right, that story was concocted by Baha'is to add miraculous proof in order to gain converts." Well, that would go against the provision against using miracles as proofs, so if we know they don't work then why use them?

What is interesting is that this happened in 1850. As the link above points out, it was reported in newspapers around the world. There were roughly 10,000 witnesses gathered, some of whom recorded their observations. A bit of investigation can reveal non-Baha'i sources. This wasn't something that happened 2,000 years ago. This was something that happened just before the U.S. Civil War, as Harriet Tubman was leading the Underground Railroad. There were 30 States in the U.S. This was after Samuel F.B. Morse sent the words "What Hath God Wrought" across the telegraph lines from Washington D.C. to Baltimore. (If you want some other Baha'i synchronicity, look at what else happened the day before on May 23, 1844.)

So this story isn't irretrievably clouded in antiquity. It is just amazing. And it is about a pure-hearted youth who had a dangerous mission - to bring God's Word to humanity and prepare the way for one who was to come after him. He died for that in a most horrendous way: shot by a firing squad of 750 militia men.

And He died for our sins.

May my spirit be a sacrifice for the wrongs He suffered.

Read more here.

Bill, "He Died for Our Sins," Rodin's Muse

{Re-posted with permission}

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